Rast joins BMW as factory driver after Audi exit

Three-time DTM champion Rene Rast will join BMW’s roster of factory drivers in 2023 after announcing his exit from Audi earlier this month.

Rast joins BMW as factory driver after Audi exit

Although the exact details of his programme will be revealed at a later date, BMW said he will drive a number of cars from its stable next year.

In 2023, the Munich-based manufacturer will compete in the IMSA SportsCar Championship with the new BMW M Hybrid V8, before expanding into the WEC for 2024, while having extensive presence in GT3 racing with the new-for-2022 M4.

PLUS: Why BMW shouldn't be overlooked on its return to prototypes

Rast will switch to BMW after a 12-year stint with Audi that made him one of the most successful drivers in DTM history with three titles, 24 wins and 21 pole positions.

Outside of the DTM, Rast also made a name for himself in GT racing, winning prestigious 24-hour races at Spa-Francorchamps (twice), the Nurburgring Nordschleife as well as the ADAC GT Masters title.

“After so many successful years at Audi, I am looking forward to a new challenge,” said Rast.

“I followed what has been going on at BMW M Motorsport in the past years and a long time ago, I took my first steps in motor racing in Formula BMW.

“Returning to BMW now, almost 20 years later, is a great story and a logical step for me.”

Rast had previously signed a contract with Audi through the end of the 2023 season, which would have seen him lead the development of its new LMDh contender due for both IMSA and the WEC.

However, this programme was unofficially canned at the beginning of the year and is seen as one of the chief reasons behind Rast’s departure from Audi.

Rast currently races for newly-announced BMW partner team WRT in LMP2

Rast currently races for newly-announced BMW partner team WRT in LMP2

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

It is highly likely that Rast will join BMW’s LMDh programme, setting up the prospect of a reunion with the WRT outfit he currently races for in the WEC's LMP2 division. BMW has appointed WRT as its factory team for the WEC.

“I know Rene Rast very well from my time at Audi and I am delighted that we will work together now at BMW M Motorsport,” said Andreas Roos, Head of BMW M Motorsport. 

“Rene is a very versatile racing driver and a fantastic addition to our squad of drivers. His success speaks for itself. He has immediately been fast in every car he has driven so far. 

“He also has a meticulous approach to his job, which has always impressed me. I am confident that he will be a great help to us in many areas, whether it be racing or developing our cars.”

shares
comments
Drivers have to be "more on point" in "closer" 2022 DTM fight – Gotz
Previous article

Drivers have to be "more on point" in "closer" 2022 DTM fight – Gotz

Next article

2022 DTM Nurburgring: Start time, how to watch and more

2022 DTM Nurburgring: Start time, how to watch and more
The longest-serving Red Bull driver revealing F1’s true brutality Plus

The longest-serving Red Bull driver revealing F1’s true brutality

His day of days in Formula 1 came at Indianapolis in 2005, a day grand prix racing strives to forget. But Patrick Friesacher, the long-serving Red Bull lieutenant, remains active today driving a two-seater that provides ordinary people with a glimpse of an F1 car’s savage potential, including this writer...

Formula 1
Jun 2, 2022
How the DTM has come back stronger from its Norisring nadir Plus

How the DTM has come back stronger from its Norisring nadir

OPINION: Questionable driving standards and farcical team orders meant the DTM's first season under GT3 regulations ended under a cloud. But the organisation has responded firmly by banning team orders and welcomed new manufacturers, making for an intriguing season ahead as new and returning names prepare for battle

DTM
Mar 30, 2022
The remarkable career of a 'classy' champion who rejected politics Plus

The remarkable career of a 'classy' champion who rejected politics

Over two decades as a factory driver with Audi and BMW, Martin Tomczyk earned the respect of team-mates and rivals as a hard but fair racer. After calling time on his racing career, the 2011 DTM champion sat down with Autosport to look back

GT
Mar 5, 2022
The other Hamilton conqueror seeking career revival Plus

The other Hamilton conqueror seeking career revival

On his rise through the ranks before reaching Formula 1, Lewis Hamilton was usually a cut above the rest. But he never truly asserted himself over a Mercedes-backed fellow Briton who traded single-seaters for touring cars and is now seeking new opportunities after a year largely spent on the sidelines

DTM
Dec 18, 2021
How the DTM's shambolic finale poses awkward future questions Plus

How the DTM's shambolic finale poses awkward future questions

OPINION: The scenes at the Norisring as Mercedes used blatant team orders to secure the first DTM title of the new GT3 era totally undermined the credibility of the championship. But as well as overshadowing the season, it also presents uncomfortable questions to series bosses about the direction it is headed in

DTM
Oct 12, 2021
How Audi's new DTM star is channeling Rast to achieve his "childhood dream" Plus

How Audi's new DTM star is channeling Rast to achieve his "childhood dream"

Having learned the ropes in GT3 alongside Rene Rast, Kelvin van der Linde is in line to take up the three-time champion's baton as Audi's new DTM king. From humble origins in South Africa, it's been a remarkable journey so far for the current series leader, but he knows that the 2021 title is a long way from settled just yet

DTM
Sep 18, 2021
The number-crunching behind the new-look DTM's equalisation drive Plus

The number-crunching behind the new-look DTM's equalisation drive

Switching to GT3 regulations marked a fresh start for the DTM in 2021, but it has also drawn a line in the sand against other series using similar cars by engaging AVL Racing to develop a bespoke Balance of Performance system. Here’s how it works

DTM
Jul 23, 2021
The initial verdict on DTM's move to GT3 cars Plus

The initial verdict on DTM's move to GT3 cars

OPINION: Facing collapse last year, the DTM has shifted its philosophy from a championship for silhouette-based touring cars to GT machines not too dissimilar to those racing across multiple series worldwide. But despite some initial BoP-based teething troubles, there were some pleasant findings as the 'new DTM' got underway at Monza

DTM
Jun 22, 2021